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John Rozentals checks out the week’s travel bargains.

July 6, 2020 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

Less than an hour from the Sydney CBD, Atura Blacktown offers a great base for a weekend break.

Enjoy the urban, industrial, hip vibe of Atura Blacktown and a chance to step back in time watching a movie at the Skyline Drive In.

Located next door to the Skyline Drive In, Sydney’s last drive-in movie theatre, Atura has packaged a Sydney staycation for a fun, quick getaway.

Priced from $154 per room per night, the package includes breakfast daily at the Roadhouse Bar & Grill and entry into the drive in for one vehicle to check out a movie and soak up the nostalgia of the Happy-Days-inspired Skyline Blacktown Drive In.

Visit www.aturahotels.com.

 The Brisbane River: something extra relaxing.

Need to leave your familiar four walls for a breath of fresh air?

Brisbane is a beautiful open-air city that is coming back to life, so it’s time to get back out there and reconnect with Australia’s nature capital.

It’s a glorious time of year and the air is crisp and the sunshine is warm.

Get out on the river, for instance. Mix up the usual exercise routine and relish the natural playground that’s right on the city’s doorstep.

Hire a kayak from Riverlife for $25 per two-hour session, or grab a canoe from One Tree Canoe for $50 a day.

There’s something extra relaxing about the views of Brisbane when the water’s lapping at the side of your canoe in the winter sun.

See www.visitbrisbane.com.au.

 Kalbarri Skywalk: ready to become a major tourism drawcard. Image: Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

The breathtaking Kalbarri Skywalk in Kalbarri National Park is open, providing visitors with a stunning vista of the park’s gorges, rust-red cliffs, flowing waterways, and bushland from high above.

The newly opened Kalbarri Skywalk is a welcome addition to the National Park. Located at West Loop lookout, the structure features two cantilevered viewing platforms that offer soaring views of the Murchison Gorge, river and surrounds.

The platforms project 25 metres and 17 metres beyond the gorge rim, and more than 100 metres above the river.

The site also provides toilets, shade shelters, parking, interpretive artwork, improved road infrastructure and a soon-to-open kiosk.

Kalbarri is part of the traditional lands of the Nanda people, in the Yamatji region of Western Australia.

Visit www.parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/park/kalbarri.

 Far-western NSW: a taste of the Australian Outback.

A 12-hour road trip from Sydney, Broken Hill is about as far as you can go in NSW without crossing into another State.

In fact, the remote destination is so far west it even uses the South Australian time zone.

For a taste of the Outback without leaving NSW, Out of the Ordinary Outback, has accommodation offers to help cooped-up travellers enjoy the sunshine, fresh air, big skies, vast spaces and endless horizons of far-west NSW.

Stay in White Cliffs Underground Motel for one night for $149 per room (including continental buffet breakfast) and stay a second night for half price when the property re-opens on July 1.

Or stay by a billabong at Warrawong on the Darling near Wilcannia (cabins $125 a night, caravan sites $40) for one or more nights and then receive a $40 discount at the White Cliffs Underground Motel, which is an hour away.

New deluxe swags are also available at the Broken Hill Outback Resort for $30 a person or $60 per couple, including linen and set up. Luxury spa studios at the resort, overlooking the desert, are available from $175 a night. Caravan and camping sites are from $30 a night.

Phone 1300 688 225 or visit www.brokenhilloutbackresort.com.au.

 On the Great Barrier Reef: cooperative effort.

Three locally owned Great Barrier Reef operators will sail on alternate days when they relaunch their Cairns tours on July 10, in an effort to support local jobs and businesses.

Passions of Paradise, Down Under Cruise and Dive, and Ocean Freedom have agreed to cooperate on the days they run snorkelling-and-diving tours to the outer Great Barrier Reef.

Visitors will enjoy smaller numbers on boats, and if they want an exclusive experience will get it on a private charter.

Passions of Paradise, Down Under Cruise and Dive’s Evolution and Ocean Freedom each visit two outer Great Barrier Reef sites with snorkelling and lunch included.

Visit www.passions.com.au; www.downundercruiseanddive.com.au; www.oceanfreedom.com.au.

 The Mary Valley Rattler: back on the track.

The Queensland Sunshine Coast’s Mary Valley Rattler will run a special Superhero Train on July 11, where visitors can meet Steam Man and celebrate the first steam train excursion back on the track.

The train departs Gympie Station at 10am, and returns there at 1pm.

Tickets are from $125 and include on-board morning tea, lunch at the café, beverage of choice with lunch, and certificate of travel.

Visit www.visitsunshinecoast.com.

 Part of the ‘Rediscover the Road’ action: Sage Hotel Brisbane.

Now that people are mostly free to travel around their own state, Sage Hotels encourages them to take that road trip they’ve been dreaming about.

Starting at $169 a night, the ‘Rediscover the Road’ package includes a free room upgrade at selected hotels, a $25 fuel voucher and free parking, for stays until September 30.

For instance, Sage Hotel West Perth, located on trendy Hay Street, is close to shopping enclaves and mere minutes from Kings Park.

Hop on one of the hotel’s bicycles to explore the city before making your way back to enjoy Italian fare at Julio’s Restaurant.

Visit www.nexthotels.com.

 Free Spirit eco-pods: great views over Quarantine Bay.

Free Spirit offers two luxury waterfront self-contained eco-pods, set on eight acres of natural bushland with views across Quarantine Bay on Tasmania’s Bruny Island.

The pods are available from June 15 to August 31 next year. Cost is $580 for two for a two-night stay.

Guests receive a BBQ pack from the nearby Snug Butchery.

Enjoy a bottle of either regional Tasmanian wine or of warming spiced-mulled wine, Bruny Island chocolates, and marshmallows to toast sitting alongside your cosy outdoor firepit.

There’s plenty to do for any adventurous souls. Try paddling around the calm waters in one of the two-person kayaks, or experience bushwalking and birdwatching around the 400-acre Quarantine Station State Reserve next door.

Visit www.freespiritpods.com.

 Byron Bay YHA: get active surfing, paddle-boarding or sea-kayaking,

YHA offers several places to stay in regional NSW, ranging from the charm of a former cabaret club in the Blue Mountains, to the bohemian vibe of Bryon Bay — at prices that won’t break the bank.

Byron Bay YHA, for instance, is located just a stone’s throw from the beach, local pubs and restaurants, and features bright air-conditioned double/twin ensuite rooms, ringed around a muraled courtyard and swimming pool.

Prices are from $100 per room per night.

So get active surfing, paddle-boarding or sea-kayaking, then stroll down the main drag listening to buskers.

Visit yha.com.au.

exclusive NZ: added to the Crooked Compass collection.

Crooked Compass has added New Zealand to its luxury ‘Classe’ collection, featuring wilderness accessed by helicopter and private boat, age-old Maori practices and luxury lodges.

Following the launch of Crooked Compass Australia, the small-group operator is welcoming the idea of a New Zealand travel bubble.

Three itineraries — North Island, South Island and a combination — are available for travel in February and October next year.

Prices start from $14,995 for a 10-day itinerary with a maximum group size of eight travellers per departure.

Visit www.crooked-compass.com.

Mt Cook: a New Zealand icon.

World Expeditions is preparing for a rebound in domestic and New Zealand active holidays, led by surging demand for self-guided and custom itineraries, as travellers opt for local, nature-based experiences.

Although the vast majority of World Expeditions’ international range remains inoperable due to covid-19 travel restrictions, the company’s domestic and New Zealand brands are poised for what could be a healthy season if early booking levels continue.

Tasmanian Expeditions has already confirmed several walking and multi-activity trips, while its New Zealand cycling and walking holidays — operated by Trail Journeys, Adventure South and World Expeditions — are also taking strong levels of enquiries for the coming summer season.

World Expeditions’ New Zealand trips include a range of self-guided and guided cycling holidays, along with many ‘Great Walks of New Zealand’ and the exclusive ‘Moonlight Valley & Ben Lomond Backcounty Hike’.

Visit www.worldexpeditions.com.

 Trains: an efficient and often picturesque way to travel in Japan.

Trains are one of the most efficient ways to travel in Japan.

Rail passes such as the Kintetsu Rail Pass can often result in considerable savings on train fares and local attractions.

The Kintetsu Rail Pass gives travellers unlimited rides across the Kintetsu Line and Iga Tetsudo Line, saving time at the station and making it easy to explore unexpected destinations without having to worry about buying another ticket.

The Kintetsu Rail Pass forms the basic fare of the ticket.

Limited Express reservations, including tickets for the Shimakaze, are available to easily purchase online.

The Kintetsu Rail Pass gives travellers unlimited rides on all Kintetsu Railway lines for five days.

It is available for visitors at a discounted price of 3700 yen.

Visit www.kintetsu.co.jp.

NOTE: Potential travellers should check the status of individual events and establishments with regard to the coronavirus outbreak.

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